My friend and I were cracking up the other day about how the only way we’ll possibly get our apartments clean is to get pregnant. The nesting impulse did wonders for my domestic organizational skills. Now I’m back to teetering piles of random objects.
This got me to thinking that there are some other reasons I occasionally crave pregnancy: So that I can feel productive even when I’m not doing a thing. So that I can get to know a whole new person and feel surprised and touched and blown away on a regular basis. So that some of the petty concerns I have about curmudgeonly personalities in my life will suddenly seem less relevant. So that I can pick another name.
But having another child just to get at that mess of a sock drawer or to put my latest favorite names to use–Joan and Gordon if you must know–seems like maybe not such a good idea. My husband and I have decided not to have more kids for a lot of reasons. And I’m good with that. But this conversation with my friend led to a little riff, I’d like to share here.
TEN NOT SO GREAT REASONS TO HAVE A BABY (AND WHY)
1. Because babies are so adorable!
… when they are not awake at 3 AM crying to be fed for the 5th time that night.
2. Because after six years of botching two kids, I think I’ve finally got this parenting thing down.
Wonderful. Someday you can share your insights with your grown (botched) children.
3. So I don’t have to suck in my stomach for ten months.
OK, this is a compelling one. What a relief! It’s supposed to stick out! But getting a few flattering shirts is about a million dollars cheaper than raising a child.
4. So I can take some time off from work.
Ask the the next new mom you see how she enjoyed her twelve week “vacation?” (Be prepared to duck when she swings.)
5. So I can eat guilt free.
Have a look at the guidelines for pregnancy weight gain and the list of possibly harmful foods and get back to me about guilt.
6. For the unconditional love a child will give me.
Please google “animal adoption” and your zip code.
7. To give me a reason to once and for all stop partying all night.
Pregnancy is kind of like a cleanse. And becoming a parent can snap you right out of self-destructive behavior. (Apparently Lindsay Lohan is considering this approach.) But it can also backfire. You may not be able to give those things up and now you’re pregnant. And drunk. And bummed. Or you do “give things up” for the baby, but always feel resentful. So maybe quit first, gestate later?
8. Because I don’t know what else to do with my life.
Dude, you’ll still have to figure this out.
9. So he’ll love me.
Other iterations include, “It’ll help bring us closer,” “It’ll give us a common bond,” and “It’ll help our marriage. There have been several recent highly publicized studies on how this one doesn’t really pan out.
10. Just because. Actually this is as good a motive as any. There are weird, inexplicable reasons for wanting a child. I’m not sure I could list all the legitimately “good” reasons quite as easily as the “not so good” ones.
The truth is, I did consider maternity a vacation from a particular mode of being. Being congratulated for a large stomach was a much needed respite from the pressures of our annoying weight-obsessed culture. In many ways our children have brought my marriage to a deeper place. We’ve had some bickering, petty fights over the last six years–the kind we’d never dreamed of having back when we were sipping our Merlots, planning a wedding– but we’ve also become profoundly connected, like soldiers who’ve been through combat together. It may not always be romantic but it’s deep.
All the same, I think I’ll just have a really strong cup of coffee and try to clean out my closets. No reason to get a baby involved.